Pray for Our World: Maldives

Maldives are a small group of coral islands southwest of Sri Lanka in the Indian ocean.  The average size of the 202 inhabited islands are less than 1 sq km, and average elevation is one meter.  Tourism and fishing dominate the economy.  Islam is the only recognized religion, and the practice of other religions is forbidden.  There are less than 600 Christians in the entire country, including Protestant, Independent and Catholic.

Behind the facade of island paradise and peaceful Islam lies a much darker reality.  They have one of the highest divorce rates in the world, there is rising crime and gang activity, abuse of children and endemic drug use among teens (possibly up to 70%).  They do not honor human rights or religious freedoms, and there is usually a correlation between the two.  Those countries with religious freedom have a better economy and better human rights record.

Please pray for this country.  The Gospel was translated into the native language back in 1811 and then subsequently was lost or destroyed soon after.  Only the Gospel of Luke and Acts are currently available to them, though it is highly illegal at this time.

Pray for Our World: Indonesia

Indonesia has over 6,000 inhabited islands, vast coral reefs, and is the world’s fourth most populous nation.  The service industry is their largest employer, and they make about 5% of the USA’s income per person.  They were under colonial rule by the Portuguese in the 1500’s, then Dutch, British, and finally Japanese from 1942-1945.  They gained their independence after WWII.  Indonesia has many challenges still to overcome – previous political threats, militant Islamist groups, poor human rights record, overpopulation, and several natural disasters of earthquakes, tsunamis and flooding which have killed over 200,000 people since 2001.

There is also a spiritual war in Indonesia that seeks to eliminate Christianity from the country.  Ancient and strong occult powers oppose the influence of the gospel, and modern Muslims have an Islamist vision of an Indonesia without Christians, which results in pressure and persecution of Christians, violence and destruction, and elimination of religious freedom.  Pray that the Good News of Jesus Christ will reach the people through the means of Bible translations, Christian literature, missionaries, the Jesus film, and Christian radio.

Pray for our World: Algeria

Algeria lies between Morocco and Libya in the Saharan Desert of Africa.  Most people are Arab.  There is a fast-growing economy due to the oil and gas reserves, but most of the wealth does not reach the ordinary citizens.  Freedom of religion has been dwindling and persecution increasing.  97% of the population is Muslim, with the rest considered mostly non-religious.  Christians are almost non-existent.  However there is the Church of Algeria, which is the only one officially recognized.

Most households there have satellite tv, common in this part of the world.  This is crucial because many Christian programs are able to be broadcast into their homes.  My church and the mission organizations I’m involved in both support programs for satellite tv in this area of the world.  God can use us to reach the world!

Pray for Our World: Europe

Europe is by far the most secular and least religious continent in our world.  The United Kingdom and Sweden lead the way with less than 50% Christian.  Only Romania remains at almost 100% Christian, which is mostly Eastern Orthodox.  Europe once held the world’s dominant economy from the time of the Middle Ages until the two World Wars of the 20th century, and they are now beginning to see the long-term effects from the Enlightenment Period, Socialism, Marxism, Nazism, secularism, liberal church doctrine, and scandals in the Catholic church and Church of England.  The large and majestic ancient churches are empty and are being replaced by humanist philosophies, nationalism, and pluralism.  They have lost their religious identity.  Europe is now considered a post-Christian and post-modern civilization.

Despite all the challenges Europe has with immigration and overcoming two world wars, there is one very shocking reason that stands out in their religious decline.  They stopped teaching the Bible.  The people have lost confidence in the Scriptures, stopped reading them, and stopped teaching the Gospel.  The liberal theology of the 19th and 20th centuries left the Protestant churches there confused.  And while there are strong ancient Christian traditions in Orthodox and Catholic churches, there are very few evangelists in Europe.

Will this be the way of the rest of the world?  Some say the United States is about ten years behind Europe in this trend.  History has shown us this before.  In about 700 BC, there was a King of Judah named Josiah.  At that time, the temple was in disrepair and the Israelites worshiped many idols.  King Josiah asked his court secretary to go to the high priest in the temple to see about the money that had previously been collected for repairs on the fallen temple.  While doing so, the high priest found the Book of the Law that had been buried and forgotten.  He gave it to the court secretary to read, who then read it in front of the King.

When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes. Then he commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Shaphan the court secretary, and the king’s servant Asaiah: “Go and inquire of the Lord for me, the people, and all Judah about the instruction in this book that has been found. For great is the Lord’s wrath that is kindled against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words of this book in order to do everything written about us.”  2 Kings 22:11-13

The priest went to inquire of the prophetess who lived in Jerusalem, and she told him: “Say this to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the Lord: This is what the Lord God of Israel says: As for the words that you heard, because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they would become a desolation and a curse, and because you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I Myself have heard you—this is the Lord’s declaration— therefore, I will indeed gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster that I am bringing on this place.’” 2 Kings 22:14-21

King Josiah obeyed the words of the Book.  He burned and tore down all of the idols and asherah poles, the alters, shrines and monuments that were against God, the houses of the male cult prostitutes living in the temple, and got rid of all the mediums, spiritualists and the idolatrous priests, and commanded all the people to keep the Passover as was written in the Book.  No Passover had been kept from the time of the judges through all the Kings of Israel.  And after King Josiah’s actions, never again would the Israelites worship idols.

I hope that we too will learn from history and follow the truth that King Josiah found, and that we too return to reading the Bible – which are the only recorded words of God that we have.  Eight hundred years after King Josiah, Paul also tells us: “Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap.” Galatians 6:7.  Pray that the gospel of good news will reach the continent of Europe once again, and that it will become an opportunity to reach the influx of immigrants now at their doorsteps, who are seeking refuge and hope.